Yakima Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan

Yakima Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan

Yakima Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) operates the Yakima Project to supply water to the Yakima River Basin of central Washington State. Water from the Yakima Project supports the basin’s $3.4 billion crop, livestock and food processing economy. However, these water supplies are highly vulnerable to recurring droughts. In addition, endangered salmon and steelhead that live in the Yakima River and its tributaries have declined sharply from pre-project conditions. Without a consensus on a clear path forward, past efforts to resolve these problems stalled repeatedly.

Working in partnership with Ecology, Reclamation retained our staff to lead a multidisciplinary team in an effort to develop solutions to these challenges.

We facilitated an 18-month series of discussions among a stakeholder/agency workgroup, and conducted the Yakima Basin Study under Reclamation’s WaterSMART program. The study included analysis of water needs, water supplies, climate change considerations, and analysis of 17 distinct actions to improve supply, stream flow and fish habitat. We modelled the federal water supply system to evaluate effects of various water storage alternatives and operational protocols on supply and stream flow. We produced more than 30 technical reports on a range of major water storage and fish passage improvements, and programmatic actions to improve supply, fish habitat and stream flow throughout the Yakima River Basin. In addition, we performed an economic analysis on the combined effects of suite of actions, and costs were allocated under federal cost-allocation principles.

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE U.S. BUREAU OF RECLAMATION

Yakima Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan
Client
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Washington State Department of Ecology
Location

Yakima River Basin, WA
United States